Every football player dreams of reaching the NFL. They close their eyes on all levels and imagine themselves coming out of a tunnel on an NFL Sunday. They feel the energy generated by the crowd, the smoke and the fireworks. They make plays that can electrify that crowd and they help their teams qualify for the playoffs and the Super Bowl. They see the confetti falling around them as they grab the hats and shirts of an unidentified member of team staff, and no matter how stained or dirty the Vince Lombardi trophy is before the kiss through their tears.
Every kid grows up dreaming of this moment, but the harsh truth is that it’s reserved for the select few who enroll beyond college football. The journey is unforgiving with a deliberately cold process in its filtration of all but the most elite, and many good football players with strong careers are left behind.
In college football, finding the way through this blockade requires the vision and passion of a coach and a system, but it ultimately comes down to the athlete’s ability to impress scouts, coaches and managers. generals. On Friday, exactly one month before the NFL Draft kicked off in Las Vegas, Boston College held its annual Pro Day to prove that its football players are exactly the ones capable of achieving those dreams both for themselves and for their future teammates.
“[Getting drafted] will mean the world to me,” offensive lineman Alec Lindstrom said, “but all that really means is that it’s time to get to work. That’s the next step. Just because you’re drafted doesn’t mean you’ve made it. I have goals and aspirations for myself. I want to go on a team, and I want to help them win. I want to get a job, and then go on and help this team win the Super Bowl. That’s why you play. It will be an amazing feeling if and when I get that call, but it just means it’s time to work even harder.”
Pro Day helps bridge the gap between the college student-athlete and the professional athlete every gamer hopes to become. The NFL draft process is littered with these one-on-one events and practices, but only a school’s Pro Day brings together a whole host of prospects for evaluation by NFL scouts. They hold the same drills as the NFL Combine, the most elite practice held annually in Indianapolis, while participating in additional position-specific talk sessions for the assembled scouts.
Friday showcased BC’s entry into this realm and brought together players who spent their football offseason preparing for those watchful eyes. Strategist Denis Grosel threw passes down the pitch Trae Barryand defensive back Brandon Sebastian raised to simulate the way he defended passes throughout his career. Brandon Barlow lined up as both defensive lineman and linebacker, and Travis Levy participated in pass-catching drills similar to his running lanes.
“I really feel like I’m prepared for this moment,” Sebastian said, “especially the last two years here in BC, we’ve been training for this every winter and every spring. I had a ton of rehearsals, especially when I was training, and I feel like everything went as well as it should have. You’re basically competing with yourself at this point, and personally, I think I did pretty well.
The current iteration of the NFL Draft first began as the joint draft between the AFL and NFL in 1967. The two rivals agreed to merge in 1970, and the introduction of this joint draft allowed the Packers of Green Bay to select Bob Hyland with ninth overall. take. Five years later, after a number of Eagles selections earlier in the decade, Bill Thomas joined as a first-round pick when Dallas picked him 26th overall.
The mystique grew from there, and BC entered the final decade with picks in all but 1978 and 2013. Dozens of players built a mystique, and the lineage stretched from quarterback Mike Kruczek to linebacker Pete Cronan to nose guard Fred Smerlas and defensive back Mike. Mayock and others. Steve DeOssie, Gerard Phelan, Doug Flutie, Steve Strachan, Mike Ruth, John Bosa, Steve Trapilo, Bill Romanowski and Joe Wolf all dotted the 1980s, and the 1990s brought Mike Mamula, Pete Mitchell, Pete Kendall, Stalin Colinet , Damien Woody , Mike Cloud, Chris Hovan in the NFL.
The numbers swelled and filled NFL rosters, and trips to the Super Bowl became commonplace. The Eagles lifted the Lombardi Trophy and cemented their reputation among the professional elite, and each year brought the kind of undervalued and underrated attention to those valuable picks that seemingly went unnoticed on a yearly basis.
“I learned a lot in my six years at college,” Graham-Mobley joked. “But I was able to get my baccalaureate [from Temple] before getting my master’s degree at BC. I couldn’t be more grateful for that since I can sort of set things up for after football if I need to. It was a great opportunity.
“I know I was only here for a year,” he continued, “but BC has a very rich history. I’m happy to say I got my master’s degree here. I can say I have a degree from BC. There’s the culture of Boston and the culture of a team that’s loved by their fans is really nice. There’s that camaraderie.
Friday was as much about celebrating as it was about impressing the scouts. Competition remained fierce, but players who fought for NFL draft positions supported each other as much as they wanted their own personal success. Cheers from the current roster positioned on a sideline echoed at Fish Field House, and the coaches mingling with their NFL counterparts shared laughs and conversations. The players encouraged each other and at the end of the day they all left, knowing that they had done enough and left everything on the pitch, together, to try to achieve this personal dream.
“You kind of know what you’re getting into when you’re getting ready for a Pro Day,” Barry said, “so I felt ready for anything. There were no nerves; it’s just running and jumping “It’s just playing ball, that’s what we do. I feel like I could have done more, and I wish I could have done a little better on some things, but I’m happy, and now I’m looking forward to the next big picture.
The 2022 NFL Draft will begin Thursday, April 28 and run through Saturday, April 30. Coverage will be provided by both ESPN and the NFL Network, with the first round taking place during prime time on the first night. Rounds two and three are on the second night of the draft with rounds four through seven on Saturday.